A few weeks ago, I received an R&R from an agent I am SUPER excited about. I loved her suggestions and went straight to work.
Unfortunately, two days after that, my mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The doctors gave her a week and she's barely with us 3 weeks later. I've been keeping vigil ever since we got the diagnosis. Obviously, my writing has taken a backseat. But I am still trying to keep up on it and implement the revisions. My heart isn't quite in it, but I am making progress.
My concern is that I know this will take longer than expected. I'm already behind about 3 weeks of what I could have had done by now, and I don't know when I'll be back up to full speed. But I also don't want to e-mail the agent and have them think I'm trying to earn pity points by mentioning my situation and asking if they'd still be interested 2, 3, even 6 months from now.
How do I address this situation with tact? Do I just not mention anything until I send the revised manuscript? Do I say something now but be vague about what's holding me back?
First, I'm very sorry to hear this awful news about your mother. Talk about a kick in the pants from the Universe.
Second, when life kicks you in the pants, you email the agent and tell her. Just like you told me here.
No adult will think you're trying to earn pity points. Killing grandmas is for undergrads trying to avoid tests.
And give yourself permission to just be where you are. This time with your mother is precious. Don't fret that you should be writing; you shouldn't. There's only one important thing right now: your mom.
When the situation is no longer immediate, you can regroup, give yourself some time to breathe, and then start in again. Don't email the agent again until you've had a couple weeks to see how you're doing.
I get emails like this more often than I wish (ie more than zero). I've never been annoyed that the revisions were derailed or would be longer in coming. I've never rejected anyone for that either. The only thing I've done is reply with reassurance that I'll be here when you're ready, and add the author to my prayer list.
You'll be ok.
You'll be different, and life won't ever be the same, but you will be ok.